A Michigan-based driver has sold his car for $7,000 more than he would have at his local dealership simply by using data collected by DIMO, an open-source, decentralized project that aims to connect drivers and their data to developers and manufacturers. According to DIMO, automotive data can provide valuable and monetizable information, but drivers are often not the ones who benefit from it. DIMO wants to change that.
Although $7,000 is on the high end so far, Andy Chatham, co-founder of DIMO, said average savings are over $1,000 for users who share their data on the platform.
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“It’s already a $100+ million industry – just people collecting and selling this data. But it’s happening outside of most people’s understanding of their cars. So we’re really helping people to participate in it directly,” Chatham said.
Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) often sell data generated by cars, such as battery status information, but the drivers themselves are not part of this transaction. DIMO sees the blockchain as a tool to “turn this model around”. The project creates vehicle identities for cars and turns them into non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on the blockchain.
“It’s kind of like the [Department of Motor Vehicles]but in the metaverse for the vehicle,” Chatham said.
Drivers can benefit economically from the data they provide, without losing ownership.
“Whether it’s used to train a machine learning model or to assess the quality of certain battery data, that data often becomes very valuable,” Chatham said.
DIMO is targeting a large market. According to the National Automobile Dealers Association, total sales for all new light vehicle dealerships exceeded $1.18 trillion in 2021, and DIMO estimates that the US used car market is more than three times larger. The US auto insurance market is also valued at approximately $317 billion.
“And only the data itself, like people paying for car data, is [worth] around $80 billion a year today,” Chatham said. “Even though we can go and make some of these markets 1% or 2% more efficient and return as much as possible to users, like 1% of 1 trillion is a very large number.”
Meanwhile, DIMO also supports developers, who can build on the open-source platform and use real-world data from the cars that contribute to the network, allowing them to build mobility applications that include the vehicle appraisal, car insurance and roadside assistance.
Earlier this year, DIMO completed a $9 million funding round led by angel investors including former General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner and Helium CEO Amir Haleem. Since its launch last year, more than 30,000 users have registered and dozens of mobility service companies have started developing the platform.
Chatham believes what they are creating is similar to the Helium Network, a blockchain network that operates a decentralized global network of internet hotspots with two tokens. DIMO also plans to issue a token that compensates users and gives them ownership of the platform and their data.
“Token holders will be able to vote to control the base issuance and market for apps and services,” Chatham told CoinDesk.
Chatham will present “Investing in the New IoT Economy” at the IDEAS conference and hopes to bring Web3 into people’s daily lives and inspire them to think of new and beneficial ways to leverage their data.
“I think it’s just kind of a powerful message to get people out there to start thinking about the world a little bit differently,” Chatham said.
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